It’s patio season! It’s grilling season! It’s the season for going out to eat and lingering over drinks. This month I suggest a burger, a hot dog, a frosty cold beverage, a frozen dessert, and one more sweet treat that isn’t particularly seasonal, but is rather delicious.

Chamoyada | El Oasis

Maybe you haven’t heard of this frozen Mexican treat before; I hadn’t until I went to El Oasis for the first time in 2013. It’s a take on all the S-flavor descriptors: sweet, sour, savory, spicy. It’s an absolute delight. Your taste buds will be shook—they won’t know what just happened.  Here’s what it is: a fruit sorbet topped with fresh mango, a savory sauce, chili powder, and lime juice. It’s intense and wonderful and totally different from American desserts. It comes in a couple different sizes; give it a try.

El Oasis 
510 N Cunningham Ave
Urbana
noon to 9 p.m. daily

Cake Truffles | The New Sweet Indulgence

Have you had these things yet? They’re delicious. Sure, they’re sweet (which I obviously like a lot), but I’m really into the texture and the flavor of the chocolate coating (milk/dark/white). You can really taste every little bit: the cake, the filling, the coating, and the sprinkles. There’s something so satisfying about biting into one of these truffles and the crisp break of the coating pairing with the incredibly moist and tender cake inside. They’re two-bite treats, so you feel like you’re getting a little something without feeling like you’ve overdone it. They’re so good.

You can even watch of video of them being made:

An added bonus is that the bakery is open until 6 p.m., which still leaves you enough time to pop in on your way home from work.

The New Sweet Indulgence 
1121 W Windsor Rd
Champaign
M-F 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sa 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Chicago Hot Dog Slider | Seven Saints

Before you get all huffy about your Chicago hot dog, calm yourself and hear me out. The Chicago hot dog slider at Saints is, in fact, a slider, and not a hot dog ($4), in that it is served on a slider bun. Sure, it’s a slightly disassembled and weird version of a hot dog, but it’s still delicious. The ingredients are all there and they still taste great together. I will admit that it is a little odd to slice a hot dog into flatter pieces and put it on a burger bun. But I posit that you have a better bite ratio because you get a little bit of everything because the ingredients are served in a circle and not in an oval, and you’re not left with a bunch of bun left over. And, quite frankly, all that stuff mixes in your guts anyway so what’s the big deal about eating in a different format? Live a little!

Seven Saints 
32 E Chester St
Champaign
11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily

Slushie | Watson’s

Watson’s did not invent the alcoholic slushie, but the restaurant has dedicated time and through to making it delicious. I very much enjoy the variety of slushies, and the fact that I can sample them in flight form. Additionally wonderful is that now you can get that shit to go on Friday nights during 40 North’s Friday Night Live event. But if you’re interested in sitting and eating, the slushies pair well with the spicy and the fried menu items. And if you’re the person at Watson’s eating a salad with rotisserie chicken (bless your little heart), your slushie will go well with that, too. So I guess what I’m saying here is that there is no wrong slushie-food pairing. If the sangria is available, go ahead and order that one; it’s fantastic.

Watson’s 
211 N Neil St
Champaign
T-Th 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
F + Sa 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Su 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Photo by Julie McClure

American Burger | The WheelHouse

The WheelHouse is great, and so much closer than you might imagine. You could even ride your bike there, if you feel compelled to work for your food. I had dinner there just a few nights ago, and inspired by last summer’s epic burger quest, I opted to try the American burger: two patties, ketchup, mustard, pickles, and American cheese on a sesame bun ($12). It was great! The burger patties had a nice char, and the briny condiments offer that hit of acid without being overwhelming. The cheese was oozy and gooey and really fantastic (l mean, look at that photo!). The bite ratio was perfect: I didn’t lose the insides and I wasn’t left with a pile of bread.

The WheelHouse 
109 Main St
St. Joseph
T-Th 5 to 9 p.m.
F + Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Su 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Photos by Jessica Hammie, except where noted